When Jesus was tempted by Satan in the wilderness, He had just been baptised and filled with the Holy Spirit at the beginning of His ministry. However, being human, He was also famished as He had been in the wilderness for 40 days without eating.
The tempter capitalized on this moment when Christ was physically weak. Remember, had Jesus succumbed to any sin He would no longer have remained the blameless Lamb of God. His mission would have been nullified before it even began.
The temptations thrown at Jesus were not obvious or shocking sins. What could be so wrong, one might ask, with turning stones to bread to feed oneself in the wilderness? When a body is ravaged by hunger it would be easy for the mind crumble—to forget the big picture and all reason.
Nevertheless, Jesus’ response to the seductions tells us much about His relationship with His Father. With each of the three temptations, Jesus replied with Scripture. Even when Satan abused a quote from the Psalms to sweeten the temptation, Christ rejected these wiles with another passage from the Old Testament. God’s Word was so tightly bound to His heart and mind that, even in a mighty test, Jesus had Scripture at the ready.
At the end of this telling in Luke we read:
Now when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time. (vs. 13, NKJ)
We are not told of a specific instance in which this happens. We do know that Satan entered Judas as the man on his way to deliver Jesus over to those who would have Him crucified. This apex moment of Christ’s ministry was excruciating—He prayed that the cup be removed. However, He ultimately knew and carried out the Father’s will.
In these cases, Jesus was vulnerable. His body and mind were struggling, as ours often do as well. Yet, through constant communion with His Father, He found the will to do the work He was sent to accomplish.
Lenten Reader 2018
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